After leaving Bali (which I will write about later) on the 19th we spent the 20th at sea and today arrived at Exmouth, Australia. It was hot (113 degrees F, the average daily temperature being 100), dry (rain falls usually 3 days a year), on the Western coast of Australia and in the bush (We were told that it is called the bush simply because the land is full of pretty much nothing but bushes).
Not much is in Exmouth. There is the Harold Holt naval station that was built by the Americans and now run by Australians, on which are communication towers as tall as the Empire State building (this is the most powerful radio transmission station in the southern hemisphere), the Vlamingh Head lighthouse that is 100 years old and the only lighthouse in the world that is still lit by kerosene oil and a very small center of town with shops and bars. There are also miles of unspoiled white sandy beaches, a coral reef, and water, which is turquoise in color and amazingly clear. This area is known as a fisherman’s paradise. This is truly, Australia; barren, unpopulated (population is 2,300) and untouched.
We went on a tour (the air conditioning was broken on our bus so we could only get hot air from the blowers) to see the sights. We saw our first native Australian animal, the emu, which looks like an ostrich. No kangaroos were seen because they were hiding in the bushes and would not come out until nightfall. We had a chance to have a short swim at Bundegi beach and the cool clear water felt wonderful.
For the two of us, this was a special day. Arriving in Australia means that we have had the privilege of setting foot on all seven of the world’s continents. It was quite thrilling when we stepped onto the pier.
Many nationalities are represented among the passengers. We have met people from Singapore, Australia, Ireland, Norway, South Africa and England as well as the USA. Many are going all the way to Beijing. Some have been on the ship since October, when the trip began in Mumbai. A few have been in previous years on world cruises. lasting over 100 days. One couple is on the ship for six months. Their trips make our 54 days seem like a very short journey.
All is well. We are both fine and happy to not be in the snowstorm in the mid-west. Tomorrow another day at sea and then the next stop will be Geraldton.